(D: Antoine Fuqua, 124 min)
If ever there was an actor who could pull off a character named Bob Lee Swagger, it's Mark Wahlberg. Fresh off his Academy Award nomination for The Departed - there's talk of a sequel centred around his character - the artist formerly known as Marky Mark has earned that cocky swagger.
In Shooter, Wahlberg plays a retired Marine scout sniper who's framed for an assassination attempt. The trailers set up the story clearly, and this kind of gripping, find-the-baddies-before-they-find-you premise always works well - think of The Fugitive, No Way Out and Out Of Time, for starters.
It doesn't hurt that Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) is at the helm.
The Hills Have Eyes 2
(D: Martin Weisz, 89 min)
About a month ago, the twisted folks at 20th Century Fox sent us a pre-Valentine's Day package that looked like it contained something sweet. Awww! Inside, however, was something Godiva doesn't sell: a replica of a severed bloody hand. Yum.
Oh, the joys of movie marketing! The Hills Have Eyes 2 is the sequel to last year's stomach-turning remake. This time around, a group of National Guard types battle desert mutants. Sounds like a remake of Aliens. Sequels tend to have a higher body count than the originals, but that'd be pretty tough to do here. We're assuming someone gets a hand chopped off.
Both open Friday (March 23). Screened after press time - see review of Shooter March 22 and Hills March 23 at www.nowtoronto.com/film.